Saturday, October 27, 2012

Women who quit smoking before 30 cut risk of tobacco-related death by 97%

Women who quit smoking before 30 cut risk of tobacco-related death by 97% according the a new study from the Lancet of more than 1 million women.  This is good news for those female teenagers who started in High School and then decide to quit early.

"Women who smoke into middle-age have three times the death rate of non-smokers and risk dying at least 10 years early, according to adefinitive study of the effects of tobacco in more than a million women in the UK.
The good news, according to the study by a team of Oxford University researchers led by Sir Richard Peto, is that giving up cigarettes before the age of 40 reduces a woman's risk of smoking-related death by 90%. Quitting by 30 reduces it by 97%."  - from the Guardian Article.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Common Sense in Respiratory

Why is that when someone is coughing outside of the hospital they will go get cough medicine or a decongestant?  But when there is a patient coughing in the hospital the first treatment of choice is the great a powerful nebulizer.  This always amazes me because I see quite a few patients where just a nice cough medicine would probably do the trick to get rid to the dry throat or the tickle in their upper airway.  Now I do know that some cough's are caused by a bronchospasm, but ER's are notorious for calling for a nebulizer treatment on any patient with a cough even though they have not actual respiratory history.  I'm pretty sure that cough medicine is much cheaper than calling us RT's for a nebulizer tx.

In another aspect of common sense I see quite a bit in my 16 years as a therapist is the classic, "The patient got up to use the bathroom and now is back in bed and winded."  Yes a COPD patient or a morbidly obese patient will get winded by walking to the bathroom and back when they are sick.  Lets compare this walk with a 5 mile run in a healthy person.  When I go for a run and I stop yes I am winded but I do not have bronchospasms going on.  Now lets think what works for relieving my windedness (not sure if thats a word), well I just rest and can re-cooperate back to my normal breathing.  Back to the sick COPD or morbidly obese patient, or even a pneumonia patient, moving that short distance in their present condition can cause them to be winded or short of breathe, not really due to a bronchospasm but because their body is out of shape due to their current condition, so it is my thought that if your allow these people to sit and re-cooperate they will recover.  Again as I said previously there are situations where one of these patients could definitely be having a legitimate bronchospasm, but I've seen it multiple times where I'm called for a breathing treatment on these patients when I'm with another patient and by the time I get to this patient they have recovered.  The recovery can also be sped up by increasing their oxygen flow if they are on for a little while.

These are all just observations I have noticed, but they seem to fall under the use of common sense and just thinking things through, even though most of the time the nurse and patient really don't want to hear this they just want immediate solutions and in their mind medicine is the best treatment.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grave risk of silica.

Study Exposes Grave Health Risks of Silica

A study conducted in China has recently unearthed some new findings that could be very important to the prevention of future respiratory problems. The study, which was conducted by Chinese scientists over many years, followed and examined a large group of Chinese mine workers that were exposed to a compound called silica. Silica is a substance that is present in both sand and rock, and can be extremely harmful if inhaled. It is perfectly harmless if contained within the rock or the sand, but when rocks and sand are drilled or broken, fine silica dust particles then escape. These are easily inhaled and then lodge themselves deep within the lungs. This leads to all kinds of problems, such as scarring and respiratory issues and even death.

The problems experienced by the Chinese workers - who were working in places such as mines, pottery factories and gem stone factories - had a sinister outlook. The study found that the workers were not only experiencing problems with breathing, but as a result were also at a greater risk of contracting very serious heart problems, infectious diseases and even cancer.

Significant findings

The study is of particular significance due to its sheer size. The scientists monitored the health of 74,040 mine and pottery workers in China, and over a period of 33 years. They then compared the health of these workers to that of people who were not exposed to silica.

One of the leading researchers on the study, Professor Weihong Chen at the School of Public Health, Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, Hubei province, acknowledged the new significance of the findings: "In addition to a higher risk of respiratory disease, we see a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease in exposed workers," she said. "This is a new discovery."

The findings of the study are likely to change the focus of health concerns for those conducting jobs with a high exposure to silica and other harmful dust particles; not only for those in mining jobs but also those conducting regular activities such as joinery, glass engraving or sanding. "Before we were mostly concerned about respiratory diseases," Professor Weihong Chen explained. "As to whether it raises the risk of cancer, we can give a definite answer: We see a heightened risk of lung cancer in workers exposed to silica."

Large scale

The results of the Chinese study are not only significant in terms of focus and direction of health care issues for these workers, but also in terms of the scale of the risk being posed. The study found that workers exposed to silica were a massive seven times more likely to develop harmful infectious diseases, five times more likely to develop serious respiratory tuberculosis, and around twice as likely to develop some form of cardiovascular illness than those people that worked in clean environments with little exposure to silica. Also among the findings of the study was that those working in environments such as pottery factories or mining wells were almost twice as likely to develop nose or throat cancers.

This study should set off warning bells for industries such as mining, pottery and stone farming, not just in China, but throughout the rest of the world. China is one of the many countries that has a strong industrial dependency, with around 23 million workers exposed to silica through their jobs. Although the United States has nowhere near this number (we currently have around 1.7 million people in these trades), we still have a huge number of people to think about.


One form of harmful respiratory disease is a condition called silicosis that, as its name suggests, is caused by silica. In China, around 24,000 workers die from this disease every year as a result of silica getting into their lungs and staying there. The silica causes so much inflammation, scarring and pain that people with the disease die young - commonly in their forties. This is a huge proportion and a grave cause for concern.

It is hoped that the publication of this study and its findings will lead to increased awareness of the dangers of exposure to silica and will prompt companies to do all they can to decrease the risk of harm to their workers. Professor Chen has made the following recommendations for organisations.

"We recommend that worksites control levels of such pollutants; it's a public health problem. Through changes in the work environment, we can reduce the risk of disease and (early) death. Factories can use stronger ventilators, and more effective masks for workers will reduce silica exposure."

Members of the general public should also take this study as a warning of the dangers of dust compounds such as silica. It is always dangerous to expose your lungs to overly dusty environments. Wearing masks in these circumstances will go some way to protecting your lungs against harmful long term damage.

The ground-breaking study was published this week in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Obese children with asthma need more Steroids

Obese children need more corticosteroids then these children do according to this study.
Obese children with asthma require more steroids.

This goes well with I do you said to people lost more weight would spend less time because our country is at an all time high score obesity.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ondine's Curse - Rare form of sleep apenea

So I happened upon this Wikipedia article about Ondine's Curse, also called congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) which is a respiratory disorder that is fatal if untreated due to the person with he curse having a respiratory arrest while sleeping.  This is a central sleep apnea which is congenital by nature but can occur from a head injury, this can occur in 1 in 200,000 people born so it is quite rare, according the information in 2006 there were only 200 known cases at the time in the USA.  What I overall understand about OnDine's Curse is that basically you body loses the involuntary ability to breathe so you only can breathe when conscious and most people to survive get a tracheotomy and use a ventilator at night to breathe.

Here is a article about a girl who has this issue, it's interesting.

As respiratory therapist I figured this would be something interesting to find out about and just have a background knowledge of to make us better in our jobs even though the odds are against us at dealing with a patient with Odine's Curse, but it's always better to learn something new.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Caffeine to help asthmatics.

Here is a interesting on the effect of caffeine and people with asthma.  It's actually a positive effect as caffeine is found in this study to have a bronchodialation affect on people with bronchoconstriction.  My conclusion, if you have respiratory issues drink tea or coffee on a consistent basis for maintenance it could work.  Wonder though if your having an attack if you could down a Mountain Dew quick to get some relief?

Here is the link to the study: Caffeine helps Asthmatics.

Friday, January 6, 2012

PTSD and Respiratory Illnesses

New article showing a correlation of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and respiratory illnesses.  The information found in this article was mainly a result of studying people who were around the World Trade Center when 9/11 happened.

WTC Responders' PTSD Linked To Respiratory Illness

Interesting how is shows Psychological issued can cause physical issues.